The UK’s chronic housing shortage is one of the biggest challenges the country faces. The Government is aiming to build 300,000 new homes every year to match demand and keep housing costs affordable, but less than 250,000 were built last year, the highest rate in a decade. But contrary to popular belief, there is not one single national housing crisis. In many parts of the country housing is relatively affordable, and supply keeps up with the demand for new homes.
Instead, Britain has many localised housing crises focussed on its most economically successful cities and towns where employment opportunities draw in large numbers of people. These housing crises are caused by how our planning system disconnects the local supply of housing from local demand.
Cities with the biggest housing shortages are primarily concentrated in the Greater South East of England such as London and Brighton. But some places elsewhere like Edinburgh, Bristol, and York are also affected.
Many expensive cities, such as Oxford and Brighton, often build far less housing than cities with cheaper housing and lower demand, such as Wakefield and Telford. This is because the supply of houses has little connection to prices and therefore the cities with the most unaffordable housing.
There is huge variation around where in large cities and towns new homes are being built. The vast majority of development happens either in city centres or on the very edges of cities. Meanwhile, half of all these suburban neighbourhoods have built less than one home each year.
The UK doesn’t have a national housing crisis, but there is a housing crisis in our most unaffordable cities. Our work offers ideas on how national and local leaders can get homes built where demand is highest.
This report uses new data to examine which neighbourhoods within cities are building the most and the least new homes and explores what this means for policy making.
This report investigates the amount of space people have in different cities and how this has changed since 2011. It sets out what should be done to give people more space and make housing more affordable as the economy grows.
Releasing green belt around more than one thousand existing commuter stations would solve the UK housing crisis.
What's the relationship between urban economies and housing wealth in England and Wales?
The scarcity of new homes in Britain’s most economically successful cities has created huge inequalities in housing wealth.
Urban homeowners in the South East made on average £80,000 more in housing equity than those elsewhere in England and Wales from 2013 to 2018.
This wealth inequality exacerbates existing social problems, and may have been one underlying factor in many areas’ strong Leave vote in the 2016 EU referendum.
The housing crisis also creates huge cost for the rest of society. The money spent on housing benefit, the difficulties that the NHS, police, and schools has in staffing roles in expensive cities, and homelessness are all linked to the unaffordability of housing in certain places. Fixing their housing shortages will reduce pressure on the rest of the welfare state.
The UK must concentrate homebuilding primarily in economically successful cities where demand is highest.
The current planning system will not deliver homes at this scale or in the right places. Only a wholescale reform of housing policy will deliver the development needed.
What changes are needed to get more housing built where it is needed?
Politicians and campaigners from across the political spectrum are coming together to push for changes to green belt policies
The Government’s revised planning rulebook focuses too much on rural areas, and not enough on cities
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Why the current planning system causes a housing shortage, and how a new planning system — with flexible zoning — will end it.
The planning system stands in the way of the Government's plans to build, build, build.
Anthony Breach explains how the planning system causes the housing crisis and why a flexible zoning system would fix it.
YIMBY Alliance's John Myers writes on the findings of our report 'Planning for the future: How flexible zoning will end the housing crisis.'
Join us to hear about our latest report about reforming the housing planning system
The UK should introduce a flexible zoning system to build more homes and end the housing crisis argues Anthony Breach in the final paper in his series critiquing the planning system.
How should the Government roll back its support in a way that allows growth to occur across the country?
At its core, ending the housing shortage requires more homes. Yet at present, not enough houses are built in some cities, and arguably too many are built in others.
Ivan Tennant on how building new homes in the suburbs can help solve the housing crisis.
Join us to hear more about our latest report on housing and planning reform